Autism Research Institute

Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute (ARI), established in 1967 by Bernard Rimland, is a San Diego, California, based nonprofit that funds research[1] and provides information on autism and autism spectrum disorders. Stephen M. Edelson became the director of ARI upon Rimland's death in 2006.

ARI holds to the medically-discredited[2][3][4] belief that autism is partially caused by vaccinations;[5] it also suggests chelation therapy, a treatment which is dangerous enough to have caused multiple deaths[6] and has never been shown to have any impact on autism.[7]

In addition to these psuedoscientific positions, they hold that autism can be treated through a combination of intensive behavior modification, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, and a wide variety of biomedical interventions, including the use of drugs, dietary supplements, and special diets. To this end, they sponsored a yearly conference of researchers, scientists, and physicians, which was known as Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!).


Biomedical interventions

In 1995, the Autism Research Institute brought together a group of about 30 physicians and scientists to share information and ideas toward defeating autism as quickly as possible. This became known as Defeat Autism Now! which comprises a network of doctors whose stated goal is to educate parents and clinicians about biomedically-based research, appropriate testing, and a variety of interventions for autism.[citation needed]

The premise for biomedical intervention is that certain neurological disorders, including autism, might be caused by environmental triggers that compromise the gastrointestinal, immunological, and neurological systems.[citation needed] Gastrointestinal, in that they tend toward constipation and/or diarrhea and often have abnormal cravings or abhorrence for certain kinds of food; immunological, in that many have poor regulation of the immune system, many have decreased ability to fight infectious diseases, and some are prone to allergies; and neurological, in that they are consistently hypo- or hypersensitive to sensory impressions. Proponents of biomedical intervention claim that children with autism generally improve in all three systems with an adapted or 'special' diet, or with the addition to their diet of certain dietary supplements, nutrients, and enzyme supplements.[citation needed] Based on this premise, what is often diagnosed as autism or PDD is seen as a physiological syndrome involving many parts of the body that could be treated as a physiological disorder.

Research into immune abnormalities in autism began in the 1980s[8] and has been continued by more recent research demonstrating a dysregulated innate immune response in some children with autism,[9][10] amid increasing speculation that immune inflammatory responses may be involved in the etiology of autism.[11] This led to the development of an Autism Biomedical movement that developed from the 1990s and focussed on Conferences such as Montreal’s 2nd Annual Medical Conference on Autism[12] which brought together immunologists, dieticians and DAN doctors amid a surge of interest in dietary models of treatment stimulated via internet chat groups, autism support groups and conferences.

Some researchers and advocates of biomedical therapies in autism have children with autism of their own and have been driven by their own experiences; these include Bernard Rimland. Rimland, a psychologist and parent of an son with autism, speculated that his son's autism was the result of the DPT vaccine, a discredited idea.[13][14][15] He experimented with eliminating certain kinds of food and says that by eliminating casein and gluten from his son's diet, autistic symptoms were reduced. Studies supporting dietary claims for autism treatment have had significant flaws, so the data are inadequate to guide treatment recommendations.[16] A study by the University of Rochester found "eliminating gluten and casein from the diets of children with autism had no impact on their behavior, sleep or bowel patterns".[17]

See also

Autism-stacking-cans 2nd edit.jpg Pervasive Developmental Disorders portal

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008-08-22. Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  3. ^ Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. From the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Report dated May 17, 2004. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
  4. ^ "MMR The facts". NHS Immunisation Information. 2004. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  5. ^ vaccinations FAQ
  6. ^ Atwood KC, Woeckner E, Baratz RS, Sampson WI (2008). "Why the NIH Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) Should Be Abandoned". Medscape J Med 10 (5): 115. PMC 2438277. PMID 18596934. 
  7. ^ Behavior Analysis Association, University of Michigan
  8. ^ Warren RP, Margaretten NC, Pace NC, Foster A (1986). "Immune abnormalities in patients with autism". J Autism Dev Disord 16 (2): 189–97. doi:10.1007/BF01531729. PMID 2941410. 
  9. ^ Jyonouchi, Lee Geng, Agnes Ruby, Barbie Zimmerman-Bier (2005). "Dysregulated Innate Immune Responses in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Their Relationship to Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Dietary Intervention;". Neuropsychobiology 51 (2): 77–85. doi:10.1159/000084164. PMID 15741748. 
  10. ^ Paul Ashwood, Sharifia Wills, Judy Van de Water (2006). "The immune response in autism: a new frontier for autism research;". Journal of Leukocyte Biology 80 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1189/jlb.1205707. PMID 16698940. 
  11. ^ Marvin Boris, Claudia C Kaiser, Allan Goldblatt, Michael W Elice, Stephen M Edelson, James B Adams, Douglas L Feinstein (2007). "Effect of pioglitazone treatment on behavioral symptoms in autistic children". Journal of Neuroinflammation 4:3: 3. doi:10.1186/1742-2094-4-3. PMC 1781426. PMID 17207275. 
  12. ^ Autism 2001: Place For New Medical Discoveries
  13. ^ Boseley, Sarah (Tuesday 2 February 2010 16.29 GMT). "Lancet retracts 'utterly false' MMR paper". Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Mooney C (June 2009). "Why does the vaccine/autism controversy live on?". Discover. 
  15. ^ National Health Service. "MMR: myths and truths". 
  16. ^ Christison GW, Ivany K (2006). "Elimination diets in autism spectrum disorders: any wheat amidst the chaff?". J Dev Behav Pediatr 27 (2 Suppl 2): S162–71. doi:10.1097/00004703-200604002-00015. PMID 16685183. 
  17. ^ "Popular Autism Diet Does Not Show Behavioral Improvement". 

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